Life strategies


Published on

Myrna Yao, founding chairperson of the Philippine Federation of Local Councils of Women and CEO of Richwell Trading Philippines, talk about her life strategies during the 2011 Asian and African Women Conference at the
Sookmyung Women’s University, in Seoul, South Korea

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Is it not without education that women are poor? Or is it not because of poverty that women are uneducated?
  • As a key driver of economic growth and social change, the positive multiplier effect of education on the wellbeing of families, communities and nations are well-known and well-researched. In fact, it has been said that “ the more a society is educated, the less the poor it is, since poverty take a strong hold on places where there is an abundance of illiteracy due to lack of education. ”
  • I was born and bred in an economically backward province of Camarines Norte. My parents were hardworking traders in their own right. My Filipina mother didn’t finish elementary school. My Chinese father couldn’t understand English. Being the eldest among four children, I often represented them in meetings and even translated English movies for them to understand
  • From the onset, I knew that if I didn’t finish college, I would be just an ordinary trader. As a woman, I owed it to myself to strategize how I could achieve my personal goals and succeed in life.
  • In a highly competitive job market, I believe that a woman should build up her portfolio, teach herself new skills, and proceed to graduate school.
  • Realizing what my work-life had been through, my effort wouldn’t pay off if I didn’t pursue my education. By experience, I have learned what I termed PLPL Strategies to Success.
  • I was born in the 1950’s. Many sociologists consider someone my age as a baby boomer. They characterized baby boomers as achievement-oriented, dedicated and career-focused individuals. They also noted that women my age went to college to seek better work and better pay. True enough, those descriptions suit me perfectly. I was ambitious and persevering to earn. At 19, I got married. That wasn’t part of my plan. But that didn’t stop me from pursuing my dreams. The fact that high school and college education in the Philippines greatly raise a person’s income only made me really nervous to end up being an undergraduate housewife.
  • Without a college degree, how would I raise my children? In today’s prevailing employment rates, the average high-school graduate can make around 2000 - 4000 pesos a month (equivalent to $50 - $100). A college graduate can make around 6000 - 8000 pesos a month (equivalent to $150 - $200). Some companies providing services for international clients such as call centers remunerate their entry level college graduates with 12,000 - 16,000 pesos a month (equivalent to $300 - $400). Many Philippine companies require college degrees in hiring salaried employees. Although a college degree is not necessarily a guarantee of quality, it guarantees certain level of knowledge specifically needed for the job. Can you imagine the average rate I would get if I were an undergraduate employee in 1970s? Compared with a college graduate, I might receive insufficient allotment for a day’s basic expenses!
  • Therefore, I planned BIGTIME to stay in control of my future. A woman of Chinese descent like me would primarily choose business management as a field of study. My goal of course was not simply to be employable. I wanted to be my own “boss” Gladly, many young women these days are realizing the advantages of finishing business-related courses. Women are now leaders in entrepreneurship in the Philippines. The number of women engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity, regarded as an important measure of innovation and potential for knowledge society participation, exceeds that of men. In 2006, 22.5 percent of women were new entrepreneurs as compared to 18.4 percent of men. The rate of female entrepreneurial activity in the Philippines is high not only compared to men but also is the highest among either men or women in a series of Asian countries noted for entrepreneurial innovation.
  • Any woman in the prime of her life would definitely want to be successful in her chosen endeavor. We have the natural tendency to give high priority to our family’s immediate needs and at the same time we want to be well educated and in control of our career. See, we got the whole world in our hands. If we fail to plan, we plan to fail. In the course of planning, we face tough choices on which to give high priority. My choices were no different from others – family, career or education.
  • Many women in the Philippines take risks to stop schooling and start working as domestic helpers and personal service workers to provide for the needs of their family. Others, who are fortunate to finish college, emigrate and become permanent residents of other countries. Overseas Filipino women often work as nurses, doctors, physical therapists, accountants, IT professionals, engineers, architects, entertainers, technicians, teachers, military servicemen, seafarers, students, caregivers, among others. Some find the life improvements that they seek, but for others there are costly outcomes.
  • As a teenage wife, I had to put my goals in order. I could be pregnant anytime. Before I knew it, I had to feed my kids, clothe them, and put roof over their heads. On top of it all, my emotional bond with them shouldn’t be compromised with providing for their basic necessities. My argument was simple. The more a woman gets stuck with menial jobs, the less financial independence she has to support her family’s growing needs. I had three choices at hand so I put education on top of my priorities. With higher education, I knew I would have the confidence and leverage to conquer a male-dominated trading industry.
  • Three and a half years was all I needed to finish my college degree. I graduated at 20 and proceeded to the graduate school right away. At age 21, I entered the tire and commodity trading business – a type of enterprise no woman ever tried entering into until I did. I gave birth to my first daughter after my last case presentation in April 1979; finished my Master in Business Administration and became a mom at age 22. To many college graduate women, their larger responsibility for housework and for the family impedes their ability to use their educational training and skills for remunerative work. But this shouldn’t hinder them from generating income. There are so many home-based business opportunities out there, if only they would even care to search.
  • Surprisingly, in the Philippine experience, the current average annual income by female household head is 8.4 percent more than male and they can still save money by 16.9 percent than their male counterparts. How is that possible? They engage in business.
  • Like fitting puzzle pieces snuggly and all together, it took seven precious years of my life before I saw the complete picture of my life’s puzzle. Matching an exact piece for an exact space was extremely time-consuming, more so, emotionally distressing. Yet seeing the much-awaited grand design was rewarding. Starting a business was tough but sustaining it was even more challenging – a commodity trader at 21, blouses and house ware seller at 23 and tire dealer at 30. I started with only one trusted secretary. At age 60, I have now 1,400 customer-oriented employees in 5 companies handling more than 50 brands comprised of tires, kid’s toys, shoes, fashion accessories, baby products and real estate. And on top of all these successes are my four grown-up daughters and 9 grandchildren!
  • I am sure that 58 percent of Filipino women baby-boomers, who are now successful chief executive officers, senior officials and managers, put their missing puzzle pieces in the same way I did mine. We all had our humble beginnings to speak of. It started when we set a timetable and pushed ourselves to follow them.
  • People measure success based on the standards they set for themselves. Perhaps you have heard this line before: Su ccess is relative. When I started sorting out the pieces of my life’s puzzle, I had no idea what the grand design was. All that mattered to me was to rise above mediocrity – from a simple trader to a successful entrepreneur. I am in this position for nothing. I have to return the favor and give something back to the community. At age 40, I started helping uplift the economic condition of Filipino women in different capacities – founded two non-government organizations for women economic empowerment; led several organizations for poverty reduction and education; and helped build churches and multipurpose buildings
  • From 2004-2010, I was privilege to be appointed by former President Gloria Arroyo as chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Women. Past-appointed chairpersons of PCW were chosen among public servants from the academe and government institutions. I was the only one coming from the business sector. Working for the government gave me new and interesting perspectives. Some major advancement for women’s socio-economic footing in the Philippines may be evident but there is also gender inequality in specific areas.
  • Not all Filipinos are privileged to pursue higher education. Non-affordability is often cited as the main reason behind the high dropout rates in tertiary level as children are forced to help augment the family’s income. To make education accessible for all, the national government integrates the alternative learning options as an essential part of every socio-economic development initiative.
  • With my educational background and work experiences, the Canadian Institute for Development Agency entrusted PCW the GREAT Women Project. It aims to help augment the economic condition of marginalized Filipino women in the rural areas. I was also instrumental to the passing of a law prohibiting discrimination against women, and recognizing and promoting their rights legally known as the Magna Carta of Women.
  • How do I measure success? My heart desired nothing but to finish my degree, have a rewarding career and build a family. I achieved my life’s objectives and reached my goals – these made me a successful woman. As Abraham Maslow said: Wh at a man can be, he must be. Self-actualization, or fulfilling one’s potential, makes a person successful.
  • Th e ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper plays his fiddle and dances the summer away. Come winter the ant is warm and fed. The grasshopper dies in cold.
  • By providing valuable knowledge and skills that are necessary to give women lasting foundation, higher education improves women’s potential. In the Philippine scenario, there is a need to strengthen women economic empowerment for them to finance their education. And it is equally important for women to obtain college diploma for them to achieve economic empowerment.
  • In spite of it all, allow me to point out that although investments in human capital through education are one of the most effective ways to raise the poor to decent levels of income , education is not a magic wand that would instantaneously take poverty away. Women should make themselves as employable as possible. The government can only do so much. The initiative should come from you and me.
  • Life strategies

    1. 1. Building Successful Career and ImprovingLife through Higher EducationPresented by Myrna T. Yao2011 Asian and African Women ConferenceSookmyung Women’s University, Seoul, South KoreaOctober 6-8, 2011
    2. 2. Thoughts to Ponder On Without education, women are poor QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. Women are poor QuickTime™ and a because they are TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. uneducated
    3. 3. The more a society is QuickTime™ and aTIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. educated, the less the poor it is.
    4. 4. Camarines Norte, Philippines Poverty incidence in Camarines Norte at 32 percent Three in every 10 families in the QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor province live below are needed to see this picture. the poverty line
    5. 5.  As a woman, I owed it to myself to strategize how I QuickTime™ and aTIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor could achieve my are needed to see this picture. personal goals and succeed in life.
    6. 6. A woman in a highly competitive market should… Build up her portfolio Teach herself new skills QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. Proceed to graduate school
    7. 7. Strategies to SuccessP = plan for the futureL = learn to prioritize goalsP = put a time tableL = learn to measure success
    8. 8. 1) Plan for the Future High school and college education in the Philippines greatly raise a QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor person’s income are needed to see this picture.
    9. 9. Employment Rates$400$350$300 Average high school$250 graduate$200 College Graduate - local$150 company College Graduate -$100 foreign company$50 $0 Employment Rate
    10. 10. Entrepreneurs in the Philippines
    11. 11. 2) Learn to Prioritize Goals Family Career Education
    12. 12. Argument The more a woman gets stuck with menial jobs, the less financial independence she has to support her family’s growing needs.
    13. 13. My List of Priorities Education  college graduate at 20  MBA graduate at 22 Career  Start trading at 21 Family  Become a mom at 22
    14. 14. ENGAGE IN BUSINESS Average annual income of female household head is 8.4% more than male Female household head saves 16.9% more than the male
    15. 15. 3) Put a timetable
    16. 16. QuickTime™ and aTIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture.
    17. 17. 4) Learn to measure success  Success is relative QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture.
    18. 18. Philippine Commission on Women QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture.
    19. 19.  Not all Filipinos are privilege to pursue higher education QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture.
    20. 20.  GREAT Women Project  Help augment the QuickTime™ and aTIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. economic condition of marginalized women  Magna Carta of Women  Law prohibiting discrimination against women QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture.
    21. 21. How do you measure your success? What a man can be, he must be.  Abraham Maslow
    22. 22. Conclusion QuickTime™ and aTIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture.
    23. 23. Next Steps  By providing valuable knowledge and skills that are necessary to give women lasting QuickTime™ and aTIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. foundation, higher education improves women’s potential.
    24. 24.  Education is not a magic wand QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture.
    25. 25. Thank You!